Elementals: The Head of Medusa by Michelle Meadow giveaway + excerpt!

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Elementals: The Head of Medusa by Michelle Madow
Publisher: Dreamscape Publishing
Publication Date: June 19th, 2016
Pages: N/A
Song I Played While Reading: Nocturnal by Disclosure
Rating: 3.5 stars

When Nicole Cassidy moved to a new town, she discovered that she was a witch descended from gods. But that was nothing compared to learning that it was up to her and four others with mysterious elemental powers to help save the world from the Titans, who would soon return to Earth. 

Now her relationship with Blake -- the fire Elemental -- is finally heating up. But she must remain focused, because Typhon, one of the deadliest creatures in history, has escaped from the weakening prison world. Only one object can destroy him -- the head of Medusa herself. 

Follow the Elementals as they journey to the end of the Earth, facing choices that will put their lives and the entire world at risk. Will they all survive the mission?

This book takes the cake for my fastest read. Even though it technically took me five days (life seems to enjoy getting in the way a lot), of the five days, it took me a grand total of 3 1/2 hours to read. An hour and a half for the first half, two hours for the last half. 
The first half was a struggle for me. I can blame some of it on my mindset: I was tired and rushing through the story, not really soaking anything in. My mom had the TV on as well, so I was constantly being yanked out of the story by something flashing on the screen. But I'm always a little caught off guard at first by how naive these characters are. They're very tame compared to some teenagers in books, so it's difficult at first to get used to the drastic changes. But that's just how Madow wrote this series, so it's really no surprise, but I'm always caught off guard in the beginning. Once I get used to it, I slip into the story like it's nobody's business. 
When she emailed me with the eARC, she mentioned that this was the most emotional book yet in the Elementals series, so I was ready for it. And I definitely see what she meant: some of the characters get gorgeous character arcs, and the group as a whole faces their toughest opponent yet, all the while dealing with personal relationships, suspicious foes, and shattering loss. I'm the kind of girl who reacts to a lot of blood and action in one way: vicious happiness and awe. So, at one point in the climactic scene, Madow goes full force and ratchets up the tension, and it was glorious. I seriously want to spill the specifcs, but don't want to spoil anything, so you'll just have to see. 
Nicole's inner turmoil and thoughts, though a little stiff at first, smoothed out beautifully by the end, ensuring a solid arc that had me rooting for her. I'm a little cynical, so it's hard for me to read about happy-go-lucky characters who are constantly optimistic and see the best in people. I like when things get a little dark, so, even though it pained me for Nicole to have go through it, I thought a little injection of real life was necessary for her to be more relatable. She's still such a sweet-pie though, and a small part of me really admires her for it. I can't imagine having the fate of the world on my shoulders at 16. No, thank you.
With it's gnarly cliff-hanger of an ending, Elementals: The Head of Medusa will having you scrambling for more of Nicole and the gang as they struggle to keep Earth safe from the clutches of the Titans!

"What were about to do is scary. Terrifying, even. But we've been through things that were just as challenging. We played our first monster together in that cave, we escaped the Land of the Lotus Eaters when everyone there was trying to kill us, we blew up one of Scylla's heads, we played the hydra, and we stole the Golden Sword of Athena from a goddess's ice palace. No matter what challenges we face, we've always come out on top. Tonight won't be any different. We're the Elementals. We train together, we fight together, and we win together. And don't any of you ever forget it."

Michelle is offering up a fabulous prize during her Elementals: The Head of Medusa Virtual Tour event. One lucky winner will receive a signed paperback copy of the first book, Elementals: The Prophecy of Shadows
Enter here: a Rafflecopter giveaway 

About the author: 
Michelle Madow writes fast-paced YA (young adult) fiction that will having you turning the pages wanting more!

She grew up in Baltimore, and now lives in Boca Raton, Florida, where she writes books for young adults. Some of her favorite things are: reading, pizza, time travel, Broadway musicals, and spending time with friends and family. Michelle went on a cross-country road trip from Florida to California and back to promote her books and to encourage high school students to embrace reading and writing. Someday, she hopes to travel the world for a year on a cruise ship. 

Website / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Goodreads

Follow the tour!
July 13th

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Happy Monday!

Monday, June 27, 2016

(I'm currently writing this on Sunday night, and can barely string two words together because of lack of sleep and a previous night of shenanigans. So. I really hope this makes sense!)

Read last week
Elementals: The Head of Medusa by Michelle Madow, which was cute, fun, and fast-paced, but I struggled with the first half, so I gave it 3.5 stars. I'm a part of the review tour and my date is the 31st, so I'll have my review up then! Then I finished Mosquitoland by David Arnold, which I positively adored. Here's my review!

Currently (re)reading
Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater. I'm only 30ish pages into it, but obviously it's fantastic. The Raven boys and Blue are actual #squadgoals.

The Raven King by Maggie Steifvater, then maaaaaaaybe The Witch Hunter duology by Virginia Boecker. June has crept up on me (it's already the 27th?!), and I have a packed TBR for July that I could really use a head start on, so we'll see how fast I finish TRK!

Books I've obtained
Ah! For once I have something to post in here. I went to two used book stores during the week and got some goodies:  
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
A Northern Light by Jennifer Donnelly
Falling Kingdom by Morgan Rhodes
A World Without End by Ken Follett

Then I got this GORGEOUS first edition history book from an antique shop yesterday, and y'all. I'M OBSESSED.  Look at how beaten up it us! And then my grandma loaned me her 1911 second edition of Classic Myths in English Literature and in Art by Charles Mills Gayley. It's all about greek mythology and it's so freaking beautiful. There's pictures and 'family trees', so to speak, and I absolutely adore it. There's something so precious about first editions, and I'll seriously cherish these for the rest of my life. 

Music I've been loving
I've been getting really into acoustic music lately, and even created my own playlist on Spotify. I play it a lot in the mornings just so I can get into the right kind of mood. It also seems to bring out the creative side in me: I always want to write up blog posts or journal whenever it's on.

Acoustic favorites: Home by Dotan // Barcelona by George Ezra // Amadeus by Family and Friends // Dust to Dust (acoustic version) by The Civil Wars // Old Pine by Ben Howard // Tenerife Sea by Ed Sheeran

Other music I've been loving: Too Good by Drake // Sangria by Blake Shelton // Home Alone Tonight by Luke Bryan // Needed Me by Rihanna // BOSS by Disclosure // Can't Stop The Feeling by Justin Timberlake // Welcome To The Black Parade by My Chemical Romance (tbt!!!)

Posts I uploaded
Happy Monday! on 6/20

Life shenanigans
I've been thinking a lot lately about my blog. I'll write up a more in-depth post on it soon, but basically, I've been thinking about what kinds of books I want to review for it (I asked on Twitter if you all formally review every book you read or not, and I got an overwhelming "No"), what I post on here, and how often. I've come to a few decisions and I'm excited to share them with you! I'll have that post up this week :)
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Elementals: The Portal to Kerberos by Michelle Madow cover reveal + giveaway!

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Elementals: The Portal to Kerberos by Michelle Meadow
Publisher: Dreamscape Publishing
Publication Date: September 20th, 2016
Genre: Young adult fantasy
Format: Ebook and paperback

She will venture into hell to save the one she loves.

After being betrayed by one of their own, Nicole watches helplessly as Blake is snatched into the prison world of Kerbers - along with Medusa's head, which is the one item they need to stop the Titans from rising again. Now Nicole and the other Elementals must enter the portal, find Blake, and bring him and Medusa's head back to Earth before the deadly monster Typhon returns and wreaks havoc on the world. But there's one catch - their elemental powers one work in Kerberos. In a dimension designed to make those within it lose touch with reality, and that's filled with dangerous creatures who want to stop the from completing their task, will they make ti out alive? 

In this penultimate book of Nicole's story, join the Elementals as they journey through hell to save the world... and before it's too late. 

Preorder here: Amazon / Add to Goodreads

The adventure begins in the first book in the series, Elementals: The Prophecy of the Shadows. To get a copy of the first book for free, visit www.michellemadow.com

Michelle is hosting a giveaway for a Kindle Fire! To enter, click here.

About the author:

Michelle Madow writes fast-paced YA (young adult) fiction that will leave you turning the pages wanting more!
She grew up in Baltimore, and now lives in Boca Raton, Florida, where she writes books for young adults. Some of her favorite things are: reading, traveling, pizza, time travel, Broadway musicals, and spending with friends and family. Michelle went on a cross-country road trip from Florida to California and back to promote her books and to encourage high school students to embrace reading and writing. Someday, she hopes to travel the world for a year on a cruise ship.

Connect with Michelle: website / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Goodreads

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Mosquitoland by David Arnold

Friday, June 24, 2016

Mosquitoland by David Arnold
Publisher: Viking Books
Publication Date: March 3rd, 2015
Pages: 342
Song I Played While Reading: Amadeus by Family and Friends
Rating: 4.5 stars

After the sudden collapse of her family, Mim Malone is dragged from her home in northern Ohio to the "wastelands" of Mississippi, where she lives in a medicated milieu with her dad and new stepmom. Before the dust has a chance to settle, she learns her mother is sick back in Cleveland.
So she ditches her new life and hops aboard a northbound Greyhound bus to her real home and her real mother, meeting a quirky cast of fellow travelers along the way. But when her thousand-mile journey takes few turns she could never see coming, Mim must confront her own demons, redefining her notions of love, loyalty, and what it means to be sane. 

There's nothing I love more than a road trip coming-of-age story. If it's executed well, it's glorious. And Mosquitoland was glorious with a capital G. Throw in a quirky, and possibly-insane narrator, and you've got my perfect novel. In lieu of the sweet acknowledgements in the back of the book, I decided to pull a David Arnold: I am 110 percent positive that some mad author created this novel in his home to perfectly compliment the book specifications of one Mariah Sarah Smith. (I tweaked his line a little, since I obviously couldn't state that "I am 110 percent positive that some mad scientist created you in a lab to perfectly compliment the specifications of a David Wesley Arnold." Very cute, but a little different.)
This review is taking me a long ass time to write up, simply because I can't put into words why I loved this book so much. All I want to do is state obvious facts, like I loved that Mim was so sassy and gritty, and I loved the quirky writing, and BECK (<3333) and then be done with this. Trying to write up a review that does Mosquitoland justice is hard, my friends. Very hard.
I just answered my own question on how I plan on tackling this review, so let's get into it, shall we?

1. MIM. I adored her for many, many reasons. She was unapologetic, strong, sassy, weird, and kind. Flawed characters are important to portray in YA, and Arnold nailed it. I'm always slightly impressed when a male author creates an authentic female character. He even mentions her getting her period! Hallelufuckinglujah. That is definitely not mentioned enough in YA, which is preposterous because it's a normal bodily function for a girl. So kudos to you, David Arnold. Mary Iris Malone is fierce, and I don't think I'll be forgetting about her any time soon. 

2. BECK. I swear, I'm not doing this whole capitalized name thing on purpose, it's just that I'm still riding high on gorgeous Beck and his endlessly witty retorts and sweet whisperings. (And there was a lot of whispering in here. It was nothing sexual, literally Mim or Beck would just decide to whisper something instead of saying it in a normal tone. Don't ask me why.) It was kind of funny, the way Mim fell for Beck. It was definitely an insta-attraction, but I wouldn't say insta-love. Some will say I'm a lying fool, but whatever. It felt authentic to me, and so incredibly sweet. They just got each other. That happens in real life, those kinds of friendships or relationships that are an instant "shit, this person gets me.", so I hate when people go harping the author for this instant googly eyes shit. If a person gets you (and you find them attractive), you're going to googly eye them. DON'T EVEN DENY IT. 

3. The plot was unexpected. I thought she would be on the Greyhound bus the whole time, since it's on the cover, so I was pleasantly surprised when she strayed from it. The thing I love about road trip books is that, even though the premise is the same, they're all so different. They each have their own quirky stops and interesting people and scary moments. I will say that at one point, I was questioning Mim's accountability. There was an accident, and for the life of me,  I couldn't tell if it was real or not. The way Arnold introduced us to the scene (very magical realism-ey and frilly), and our lack of knowledge on what exactly Mim was suffering from, just made the whole scene confusing. 

4. I wasn't overly enthralled with Walt. He wasn't a terrible character, but nor was he great. I just thought he was very bland. Surprisingly, her dad stood out to me the most. I couldn't tell if I was supposed to hate him or not. He struggled with the notion of having good intentions, but executing them terribly. He was so worried about Mim that he smothered her instead of listening to her. Their relationship was complex and real, and I really liked that. Same with her stepmom, Kathy. 

I thought Arnold wrapped it up beautifully, though he almost gave me a heart attack with a certain scene involving Mim and a Reds program. A heart attack and a bad case of book throwing, because I was NOT down for that kind of scenario. Hell to the no. It was a little open-ended, but we could see a slight path outlined for us. Poignant, hopeful, bizarre, and hilarious, Mosquitoland is a must read! 

"I am a collection of oddities, a circus of neurons and electrons: my heart is the ringmaster, my soul is the trapeze artist, and the world is my audience. It sounds strange because it is, and it is, because I am strange."

"But you're a true Malone, and as such, this won't be enough for you. You'll need more than just the wheres, whens, and hows - you'll need whys. You'll think Why wouldn't Our Heroine just (insert brilliant solution here)? The truth is, reasons are hard. I'm standing on a whole stack of them right now, with barely a notion of how I got up here."
"Live bands are set up in a dozen storefront windows like mannequins, advertising twang instead of tweet. And the honkey-tonks, my God, the honkey-tonks! Until now, I'd only assumed a honky-tonk was a quiet bar full of strange people I would never want to talk to. In reality, they're obnoxiously loud bars full of strange people I would never want to talk to. I pass one with a band blaring something about a bedonkey-donk, which I can only assume is the Official Honky-Tonk National Anthem. I'm already jealous of myself five minutes ago. Because you can never un-know a honky-tonk."

"I don't know how to say good-bye to you."
He opens his eyes, his head still resting on the back of the chair. "I know."
It's quiet for a moment while I try to shape these impossible words. "Maybe it doesn't have to be, like a solid good-bye, you know?"
"As opposed to a liquid one?"
"Yes, actually. I much prefer liquid good-byes to solid ones."
Beck smiles, yawns, stretches. "So - I think my best course of action here is to just, you know, let the ridiculousness of that sentence marinate."
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My intimidating TBR book tag!

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Hey guys! It's been a while since I've done a book tag and thought this would be a fun one, since I've come to realize that some books honestly intimidate me. This is the only place where I can confess that and get utter sympathy and understanding in return, since the my family and friends always look at me as if I'm crazy if I say a book intimidates me. THEY JUST DON'T UNDERSTAND. So, without further ado, let's get into it!

1. What book have you been unable to finish?

There hasn't been a book where I've picked it up and put it down multiple times. Usually, when I put a book down, it's for good and with no intent to ever pick it up again. There have actually been quite a few DNF's this year so far, so I'll just randomly throw one out: Truthwitch by Susan Dennard. I have a post on why I DNF'd it, which I'll leave here, but to sum it up: a lack of world-building and a slow plot had me gazing wistfully at other books, and after about a week of staring at it, I finally put it down. 
2. What book have you yet to read because you just haven't had the time?
Two books come to mind when I think of this question: Reedemed by P.C. and Kristin Cast (which is the final book in The House of Night series) and Toxic by Sara Shephard (the final book in the Pretty Little Liars series). In preparation of the final book in a series, I reread all the books so everything is fresh in my mind. Who the HELL has the time to reread 12+ books in a series?! Granted, they're both older series, so I haven't read them on Goodreads yet and it would count towards my Goodreads challenge... but I have zero interest wasting all that time on one series when I could be reading other books.

3. What book have you yet to read because it's a squeal?
Miss Mayhem by Rachel Hawkins. I've heard this isn't a very good equal, so I'm hesitant to pick it up because I adored Rebel Belle. 

4. What book have you yet to read because it's brand new?

The Rose & The Dagger by Renee Ahdieh! This just came out a couple weeks ago and I haven't gotten the chance to pick it up yet. Hopefully I will soon!
5. What book have you yet to read because you read a book by the same author and didn't enjoy it?
I never really have an issue with giving an author a second chance, but I definitely don't plan on picking up The Siren by Kiera Cass anytime soon. As some of you may know, I despise America Singer, the MC in Cass' The Selection series. I've never in my life wanted to punch a character as badly as I wanted to punch America. And even though I enjoyed Eadlyn much more than her mother, she's still so extreme in her personality, so I have a feeling The Siren will feature that cliche female protagonist that I find really annoying. 

6. What book have you yet to read because you're just not in the mood for it?
Landline by Rainbow Rowell. I only got it because I was in the throes of a Rowell passion after reaidng Fangirl, but once I sat down and actually read the synopsis, I realized this didn't sound interesting to me at all. I've heard good things about it (honestly, I hear good things about all of her books), but I just can't force myself to crack it open. As every reader says, MAYBE ONE DAY. 

7. What book have you yet to read because it's humongous?

OUTLANDER. Oh my freaking god did that intimidate me. Now, you're probably thinking, "why was that sentence in past tense?" Well, because this girl is currently binge-watching the TV show and is OBSESSED. Honestly, I don't know if I'll ever pick up the book since I'm enjoying the TV show so much. Maybe to read over certain scenes, just to get a more detailed account of them (like maybe the wedding night scene, if we're being honest here). 

8. What book have you yet to read because it was a cover buy that turned out to have poor reviews?
I don't buy books based solely on their cover. I think that's just a waste of money, because what if it's about something you don't like? If a cover jumps out at me, I'll read the synopsis and then consider it. I'm wayyyyy too poor to cover buy. 

9. What's the most intimidating book in your TBR pile?
With Outlander out of the running, The City of Mirrors by Justin Cronin gets the cake. This is the final book in The Passage trilogy, which is an adult the-government-tried-making-superhuman-beings-and-it-went-completely-wrong type of thing. Each book is at least over 400 pages, so I'm kind of dragging my feet. Not only that, but I didn't realize The Passage was part of a trilogy for a solid two years, so I read it twice, then read it a third time when I found out about the sequel. So, now it'll be my fourth time, and I'm a little over it. Don't get me wrong, it's a fantastic and creepy story, but it's sooooo long that I know it'll take me a while. So, who knows when I'll get to The City of Mirrors, but hopefully soon! (I feel like I've said that with every answer.)

Alright, that's it! I tag anyone that wants to do it. :)
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Happy Monday!

Monday, June 20, 2016

Hey, hey y'all! I had a pretty uneventful week last week, except for this major shopping trip I went on Saturday. I splurged on a small Michael Kors backpack because it was on sale, and I've been pining for it for months now. That, my friends, is the worlds way of saying "BUY THAT SHIT." So I did. #treatyoself

Read last week
NOTHING. I'M SORRY, I FINISHED NOTHING, OH MY FREAKING GOD. I blame Outlander. I started that show on a whim one day last week, and I became hooked. I have a 7 day free trail with Starz, so I've been trying to cram in as many episodes as I can get, so that means no reading time for moi. Plus, life has been getting in the way (as usual).

Currently reading
The Head of Medusa by Michelle Meadow, which is the third book in her Elementals series. It's okay so far; I got through the first half super quickly, and though it was action-packed and cute as usual, there's something missing. Luckily, it's a quick read, so give me another two hours of free time and I'll have it done. I'm hoping it gets better! Though I do have a weird feeling someone important is going to either get hurt or die and I'm fervently hoping not. 

Just to give myself a little free reign with my TBR, I might pick up Mosquitoland by David Arnold before diving into Blue Lily, Lily Blue and The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater. I'm crossing my fingers that I finish two books this week. I should be able to, because I've got the whole week off, but I don't want to jinx myself because OUTLANDER AND LIFE.

Books I've obtained
None! I said last week that I was probably going to stop by Barnes & Noble, but the two times I had the chance too, my TBR screamed at me not to. AND I ACTUALLY LISTENED. What is this sorcery???

Music I've been loving
Single For The Summer by Sam Hunt // Kings of Summer by ayokay // Hotel California by the Eagles // Home by Dotan // Bartender by Lady Antebellum // Dimelo by Snakehips // Wasted Time by Keith Urban // Can't Stop The Feeling by Justin Timberlake // Talk by DJ Snake // Aftergold by Big Wild // Boss by Disclosure

Posts I uploaded
Happy Monday! on 6/13

Life shenanigans
OutlanderoutlanderoutlanderoutlanderoutlanderoutlanderOUTLANDEROUTLANDER! I'm obsessed. I really wanted to read the book first, but I'm kind of glad I didn't, because it makes the TV show that much better because I have no idea what to expect. Ever. All the plot twists and revelations are so shocking to me. The story, especially Jamie and Clarie's relationship, progressed much differently than I thought it would. I've also started curating a small mug collection and got back into journaling. If anyone has any cute mug places they love to shop at (book and non-book related) please let me know! :)
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Top favorites from the first half of 2016!

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Hey guys! I figured, since it's June and we're half way through the year, that I would show you what my favorite books are so far. Without further ado, let's get into it!

The Orphan Queen and The Mirror King by Jodi Meadows
This duology was such an intense high fantasy. Though it started out a little slow and similar to many other fantasy books, Wilhelmina and her gang really came into their own, with a story line that tugged at my heart strings and made me laugh. 

This was such an important book. Not only does it dive into the controversial topic of slut-shaming, but it features a healthy young woman having sex and enjoying it. Nothing is wrong with an MC that is a virgin, but we also need to shine the spotlight on girls who have active sex lives. It's not realistic, or right, to portray girls a certain way, and Flynn handles it gracefully.

A strange account of a group of friends, who are all fairies, and the friendships they find in the gnomes that have started a war in their village and the tightropers who are there to liberate them. Confused? I was too. But this was achingly beautiful and gritty, in the quirkiest way possible. Moskowitz was not afraid to tackle issues you normally don't see so openly in fantasies, and I applaud her for it. 

A gorgeously heart-warming coming-of-age story about a girl who looses her mother and is uprooted to LA when her father remarries. This deals with love, loss, and finding yourself in such a realistic way that I was moved to tears on a number of occasions.

Do I really need to explain this one?? NO.

What are your favorites of this year so far? Anything that I should add to my TBR?
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The Dreamer by E.J. Mellow

Thursday, June 16, 2016

The Dreamer by E.J. Mellow
Publisher: Four Eyed Owl
Publication Date: May 14th, 2015
Pages: 340
Song I Played While Reading: Sing Me To Sleep by Alan Walker
Rating: 4.5 stars

It’s night. Always night. Dreams guard against the evil forged by nightmares. Infinite shooting stars illuminate a moonless sky. A city stands alone, surrounded by a darkened field. On its fringes, a man watches one star separate from the masses and fall. What survives the crash will unveil a secret centuries long hidden.

Molly hasn’t slept well since the night of her twenty-fourth birthday. Being struck by lightning might have something to do with it, but then again, her chicken did look a little undercooked at dinner. Whatever the culprit, her life quickly catapults from mundane to insane as, night after night, Molly is transported through her once dreamless sleep to a mysterious land illuminated by shooting stars.
There she meets the captivating but frustrating Dev, and together they discover Molly possesses a power coveted by his people—the ability to conjure almost anything she desires into existence. Seduced by the possibilities of this gift, Molly shifts her attention from waking life toward the man, the magic, and the world found in her dreams.

But Molly must ask herself—does something truly exist if you only see it when you close your eyes?
Faced with the threat of losing everything—her job, best friend, boyfriend, and most importantly, that little thing called her sanity—Molly will learn just how far she’ll go to uncover what is real and what is merely a figment of her imagination.

I first heard about The Dreamer because I unwittingly followed the author on Instagram. I'm a stationary freak. I don't usually buy stationary, but I do drool over it at stores and on Instagram (because nothing beats a pretty book picture like a pretty picture with gorgeous stationary!) As I ravaged her Instagram (that sounds so weird, but it's the honest truth because OBSESSED), I noticed that she was an author. Months and months went by, and whenever I saw a positive review of The Dreamer my interest would swell. I was scrolling through my emails one day and saw one from Xpresso Book Tours, and right in the headline was The Dreamer. I've never smashed my finger so hard against the screen of my phone before. 
Jump to the present, and I'm extremely happy to say that the book has lived up to the hype: I adored this. It was engrossing, romantic, and otherworldly. This was also the first NA fantasy I've read (something I should really get more into because I love fantasy and I love me some good sexy times). 
Molly was an absolute joy to read from. She was a good medium. You know how some characters can swing super far on the scale of personalities, and can be either blunt and unapologetic or quiet and shy? Molly was the kind of relatable mc that had all of that in her. I really wish there were more medium mc's in books today. Don't get me wrong, I love having super sassy characters like Celanea Sardothien and super mellow ones like Cath from Fangirl. But sometimes I want to see a character that embodies all of that. It's possible to enjoy partying and drinking and still be a thoughtful and reliable narrator. 
Dev was sexy and so much fun. He shamelessly flirted with Molly at all points in the book, but knew when to tone it down and be serious. Though he could get blinded by his overbearing need to protect the ones he cared for (and inadvertently push them away), he managed to also be the spark that ignited Molly's powers. He had total faith in her, and though it scared him, he knew she was strong and brave and able to handle herself. 
Yes, there's a love-triangle in here! Don't run away though: since neither man can meet each other (one being the literal man of Molly's dream and the other being her man in real life), there wasn't that clash of dick-fighting that everyone seems to hate. I, for one, love that and think it's endlessly hilarious, but WHATEVER. Jared was super, super sweet and honestly had me swaying at some points, but in the end, I was Team Dev. There was oodles of kick-ass friendships in here, like with Molly and Becca, and then Molly and Rae. Becca was fiery and fierce and took no shit, which give's her an instant A in my book, and I loved how supportive she was of Molly and how deeply she cared for her. And Rae was just a giant teddy bear. I love giant man teddy bears. THEY'RE MY FAVORITE.
The plot was engrossing, with Mellow's slow world-building making me flip the pages faster and faster because I needed to know what, exactly, was going on. I loved how it ended and where the direction of the next two books are going. I cannot wait to get my hands on the next installment!

"Ladies first." He opens the front door to a dimly lit hallway.
His comment brings me back to my birthday dinner with Jared, and I grin at the memory. Dev blinks a few times at my pleased expression and then gives me one of his knee-weakening smiles.
Immediately, my face falls. "I wasn't smiling at you."
"I see." He glances around. "So it was for the other man who opened the door for you."

"I'm glad you find taking advantage of me so funny."
"Dev wipes a tear from his eye. "You, Molly, might be the end of me."
"Promise?" I grumble.
He shakes his head, still smiling. "I ned to get at the loops in your pants - they run around the front of your wasitband and are what acts as the harness."
"Yeah, oh. Trust me, if I wanted to go there, we would have already been there."
I've never rolled my eyes so fast in my life. "Please, you are not my type."
He moves closer. "But don't you remember? I'm the man of your dreams."

"That is what your presence means, Molly - there is a threat of war reaching your conscious world through the overpowering number of Metus invading Dreamers' minds."
She stares at me intently, making sure she holds my attention. She holds a lot more than that- I think I see my sanity and my metaphorical balls in the palm of her hand."

"I nod, not letting my eyes move from the mysterious ball, trying to figure out all the things it could possibly become. A spiky bludgeon comes to mind. Or maybe it's simply a bomb. Ether way, I doubt it will sprout flowers like a Chia Pet and merely tickle me with its amazing fragrance. But I guess a girl can hope.
"Good. Now I'm going to test your reflexes and creativity by not telling you what this is before I activate it." He holds up the ball for me to have a better look. I see no holes for flowers to sprout from. All hope lost."
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Happy Monday!

Monday, June 13, 2016

Another week, another Monday blog post. I'm getting really, really into VSCOcam, and seriously would love to follow anyone on there. It's almost like my picture diary; I post things on there I would never post on Instagram. I'm not sure if it's because none of my friends have an account, so I have a sense of absolute anonymity on it, or if it's the outline of the app itself. Who knows! I absolutely adore it though, and have to constantly hold back from uploading a million pictures at a time.

What I read last week
It took me almost the whole week to finish The Dreamer by E.J. Mellow, which I LOVED. I hit that 70% mark on day two, and then it took me three whole days to finish the last 30%. Life, man. LIFE ENJOYS FUCKING UP MY READING SCHEDULE.

Currently reading

Elementals: The Head of Medusa by Michelle Madow, then I'll be rereading Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater so I can finally dive into The Raven King

Books I've obtained
None! But I may take a little trip to Barnes & Noble this week.

Music I've been loving
Nick Jonas' new album Last Year Was Complicated // Somebody Else by The 1975 (If I could recommend any song ever to someone, this is it. PLEASE LISTEN TO IT.) // Talking Body by Tove Lo // Sing Me To Sleep by Alan Walker // This One's For You by David Guetta // Back 2 U by Steve Aoki

Post I uploaded 

Life shenanigans 
I had my first full-fledged panic attack on my first day of class last week. It was weird and shocking and completely out of the blue. I have a slight social anxiety that can pop up in certain situations, usually when I'm by myself in a place that I don't know. I don't like being uncertain, or looking like it, especially around older people or kids my age. I feel like I'm a walking oxymoron; I love doing things on my own and can ooze self-confidence, but then I can also go out and immediately wanna shield my face from anyone looking at me and hide in a dark corner. I also don't care what people think about me, yet have an anxiety based solely on my appearance and what other's perceive me to be. It's a constant battle, and I never really know which side I'm going to get. And since being around kids my age when I'm by myself usually makes me want to hyperventilate and rock in a corner, going to an unfamiliar school, trying to find the right classroom, and then sitting there while it slowly filled and filled and filled with kids made my heart start to pound. I don't want to get too into it, but basically the combination of feeling ugly and self-concious + sitting in a room with a huge amount of strangers + realizing I'll have to converse with them against my will made me freak. So I got up and left ten minutes into the three hour class, my body shaking and my heart pounding and tears pooling in my eyes. It was terrible. It was like a yawning pit had opened up inside of me, spewing dark thoughts and realizations that shit, was this going to be a real problem? Or was this just a fluke? Since I was fine with my spring classes (which were all relatively small compared to this class), I'm hoping it was just a small intrusion and won't be an issue. We'll see! 
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The Museum of Heartbreak by Meg Leder blog tour and giveaway!

Friday, June 10, 2016

The Museum of Heartbreak by Meg Leder
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publication Date: June 7th, 2016
Pages: 256
Song I Played While Reading: With You by Drake
Rating: 3 stars

Welcome to the Museum of the Heartbreak.
   Well, actually, to Penelope Marx's personal museum. The one she creates after coming face-to-face with the devastating, lonely-making, butt-kicking phenomenon known as heartbreak. 
   Heartbreak comes in all forms: There's Keats, the charmingly handsome new guy who couldn't be more perfect for her. There's possibly the worst person in the world, Cherisse, whose mission in life is to make Penelope miserable. There's Penelope's increasingly distant best friend Audrey. And then there's Penelope's other best friend, the equal-parts-infuriating-and-yet-somehow-amazing Eph, who has been all kinds of confusing lately.
   But sometimes there biggest heartbreak of all is learning to let go of that wondrous time before you ever knew things could be broken...

I had a love/hate relationship with this book. Some moments had me smiling and laughing, or catching my breathe because it was so relatable and breathtaking. There is absolutely nothing like falling in love for the first time, especially in high school, which is complicated enough. But, as it goes with high school, some things can be so trivial, which is when I would get annoyed. Penelope had her overly-dramatic moments of overthinking every decision she's made, or thinking the world was ending because of something that happened. Let's start with the good, shall we?
Ephraim. First of all, what the fuck kind of name is that? I had to start with that because I've never in my life read a character with that kind of name. I know it's pronounced EE-phraim, but I kept wanting to say E-phraim instead. He was adorable! He was unique and funny and burped obnoxiously, which I'm not saying I want in a future boyfriend... but I tend to burp obnoxiously too, so an appreciative "Nice one" everyone now and then wouldn't be terrible. He was thoughtful and a little bit of a nerd, which is always a great thing. There's nothing like a fanboy dating a fangirl, is there?
I looooooved Grace and Miles and how open-minded they were. They were supportive and caring and funny, and just an all out great pair. I loved reading about their little drama too; those were the moments that helped pull me out of the annoying ones. Similar moments were between Ephraim and Penelope. They had a kick-ass friendship, and acted like a married couple half the time.

That afternoon, I was emerging from the front doors of school, hugging my backpack straps against my chest, scanning the crowd for Keats, hoping to "bump into" him, when someone came up from behind and belched loudly right in my ear.
I smelled Doritos.
Eph stood next to me, his favorite navy-blue knit hat on, straight brown hair tufting out underneath, cheesy orange residue around the corners of his shit-eating grin.
"Did you seriously just burp in my ear?"
He smiled bigger, shrugged, and purposely chewed Doritos with his mouth open.
"Why would you do that to me? You're disgusting. Apologize."
"Come to the park with me."
"Come to the park with me."

Penelope definitely had her moments for me. She would do something that would remind me of myself, or say something funny, or freak out in a way that wasn't annoying. Does that make sense? You know how someone can be really dramatic or be freaking out about something, and it's funny to you because of how relatable it is? There were lots of those moments in this book, but there were also some dramatic freak outs that just had me rolling my eyes. But overall, her character arc was cute.
I don't even want to talk about Keats. It was obvious what those two were destined to be, so I had checked out from him in the beginning, even if he did have some really sweet moments with Pen.
Okay, time for something that bothered me throughout the entire book: Audrey and Cherisse. I liked Audrey. She was a sweetheart. But I could not, for the life of me, understand this whole weird friendship triangle thing with her, Cherisse, and Penelope. I understand what it's like to be between two friends who don't like each other. It's terrible! But when one friend is an outright bitch to the other? Uh uh. No way. That wouldn't slide with me, and I don't understand how Penelope wasn't more annoyed over it. Especially since Penelope wouldn't say anything back, so it was literally only Cherisse being a bitch. I get that Cherisse is her friend, but so is Penelope, and the fact that Audrey never once told Cherisse to tone it down, or heaven forbid, stop? Unbelievable. Audrey lost some of her cool points with me for that.
I really liked the little pictures at the beginning of each chapter that depicted something that would be in the Museum of Heartbreak. It was fun trying to figure out how it was worked into the story, and then seeing what it looked like in 3D on the cover. But I don't remember the action figure being in there?
Overall, this was sweet, but nothing special. One of the plot twists was glaringly obvious, and as I neared the end I just wanted to move onto something else, since I knew what was going to happen. But I definitely recommend checking this out if you're in the mood for a super fluffy coming-of-age story!

""Are you okay?" she asked; even her high cheekbones were all concerned. "I'm Mia."
"Ephraim," he replied. "And I am now."
"Oh, for God's sake," I muttered.
She smiled, all eyelash batting and lip puckering, and I felt my hackles rise in protest, full of self-righteous indignation. She was hitting on him right in front of me. What if Eph and I were together? Was that so hard to imagine? I was of dateable age, wasn't carrying around a stuffed cat in my purse, didn't have a third arm growing out of my forehead."

"When he came back, he handed me a Cafe Gitane matchbook, only it wasn't full of matches- instead it was a tiny notebook.
On the first page someone had written Scout.
A smile started breaking through the clouds, and I turned to the next page.
Your nose.
My hands flew to my nose, but he shook his head. "Keep reading."
The way you bite your lip.
The next page.
The way you talk about words.
"The three things I like best about you," he said.

""She's just worried about you," I started to say, then sucked in my breathe, thinking of Audrey. I didn't want to think about Audrey. "Give Grace a little time to cool off. You guys have a lot of history. That won't go away. You may need to grovel for the next five years, but she'll forgive you."
"You think?"
"I hope."
"I'm glad you were born, Pen," Miles said quietly.
"The feeling is mutual,"I said, meaning it."

I'd like to thank Simon and Schuster and Irish Banana Tours for providing me this book in exchange for an honest review!

Links: Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Indiebound / iBooks / The Book Depository

About Meg Leder: A former bookseller and teacher, Meg Leder currently works as a book editor in New York City. Her role models are Harriet the Spy and Anne Shirley. She is the coauthor of The Happy Book, and spends her free time reading, looking for street art, and people watching. She lives in Brooklyn, New York. You can visit her on Twitter at @MegLeder. -- Website / Twitter

3 copies of The Museum of Heartbreak (US only)

Tour Schedule:
Week 1
6/6: The Petite Book Blogger - Review
6/7: Swoony Boys Podcast - Dream Cast
6/8: Lost In Lit - Review
6/9: One Night Book Stand - Q&A
6/10: Vibin With Books - Review

Week 2
6/13: YA Bookmark - Top 10
6/14: The Plot Bunny - Review
6/15: The Hardcover Lover - Guest Post
6/16: He Said Books or Me - Review
6/17: Novel Novice - My Museum
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May 2016 wrap-up and June TBR!

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

May was a looooooong month for me. April went by in the blink of an eye, but May dragged. I think it's because I had so much going on (traveling, BEA, visiting friends, finals) that I felt like I was wading through mud because I was always wishing it was a day or a week later, especially that first week with finals. BEA and seeing all my friends was super nice, but there's nothing like getting back into the groove of life. Being out of school means WORK WORK WORK WORK WORK, which is a relief since I need the money.
Since May was so busy, I only read two books. The first two weeks of May were crammed with finals and BEA, so I literally had no time to read. Then the last two weeks was a little jam packed because I've started my summer hours at work (summer hours meaning working any day that I can), so I had to adjust to the new, earlier hours. I've turned into a grandma. I'm in bed by 9 and up by 6 almost every day, since I'm one of the few people who actually needs sleep. You know those people that can get by with 5 hours or less of sleep every day? Yeah, I'M JEALOUS. I literally cannot function, and I need to be functioning at my work. 

I finished The Museum of Heartbreak by Meg Leder, which was a cute and lighthearted contemporary that I recommend for anyone needing to get over a reading slump, or just in the mood for something light. I'm a part of the blog tour, and my date is June 6th, so my review will be up then! I also read, and absolutely LOVED, The Problem with Forever by Jennifer L. Armentrout. You can find my review here. This is also a contemporary, but it's darker and grittier, with a sweet romance that'll have you absolutely swooning. 

So, since this post is coming a little late, my original TBR for June had been muuuuuch bigger than this. I had signed up for a lot of blog tours for ARC's, and all the dates seemed to be right at the beginning of June and it was freaking me out a little. But since then, I've DNF'd some of them (since that seems to be a theme this year) or already finished them, so I've only got two books for review and then the rest is for pleasure.

The Dreamer by E.J Mallow
Elementals: The Head of Medusa by Michelle Madow (release day is the 29th)
Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater

The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater
The Witch Hunter and The King Slayer by Virginia Boecker
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Happy Monday!

Monday, June 6, 2016

Hi y'all! I start my summer class tomorrow, a pointless College for Success class, so it's nothing difficult and I'm not worried about it. It's just going to be mind-numbingly BORING. 3 hours twice a week? Boo, you whore.
I've been wanting to get back into watching TV, so I decided to start Buffy the Vampire Slayer and seem to be hooked, even though the cinematography, script, and action sequences is so old school, oh my lord. Everyone is so cute and young, I just want to squish them! I also have been debating starting Outlander, but reading the book first has been holding me back. Summer is prime time to start that monstrosity, since I have the most free time, so that's my goal for these next three months. And then if I don't by then I'll just watch the TV show and host a giveaway for my copy of the book.
Okay, let's get into this post, shall we?

What I read last week
I only read one book, but DNF'd two books. I've been doing that a lot lately; in the past month, I've DNF'd four books. Four books. Last year, I DNF'd 6, maybe 7 books? It's weird. And a little sad. But anyways, I read A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas and LOVED it, as did the rest of the world. Seriously, I haven't seen a single negative review!

Currently reading

The Dreamer by E.J. Mallow, then Elementals: The Head of Medusa by Michelle Madow.

Books I've obtained
This technically didn't come last week, but I forgot to mention in last weeks post, so I'll just talk about it now. Penguin sent me an awesome package containing some goods all centered around The Wander Society by Keri Smith, the author of Wreck This Journal. 

Music I've been loving
I Wanna Know by Alesso (Alesso & Deniz Koyu remix) // Waterbed by The Chainsmokers // Sing Me To Sleep by Alan Walker // Nothing Is Promised by Mike WiLL Made-It // Bacon by Nick Jonas // Millionaire by Cash Cash // Best Day Ever by Mac Miller // 80s Mercedes by Maren Morris // Treat You Better by Shawn Mendes

Posts I uploaded last week
Happy Monday! on 5/3

Life shenanigans 
My life anthem is Work by Rihanna because WORK WORK WORK WORK WORK. No complaints though! I definitely need the money. Besides that, really nothing exciting is going on in my life right now. 
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